Rumours of Light out now!

Rumours of Light, my second collection of poetry, is out now.

It’s about
wonder
longing
grief
hope
despair
beauty
and love.

It’s about opening yourself to the immensity of your own soul; finding the divine waiting in the darkness; and collapsing into the gorgeousness of the world around us.

It’s a love letter to the world; a lament for what we have lost; and a reminder of what it means to be alive.

My prayer is that the book will sit with you within the heavy times that we’re living in. That it will whisper to you whatever it is that you need to hear. And that it will be an open window; a glimmer of dawn; a rumour of light for you.

You can get your copy here.

Love and gratitude,

Gideon Heugh

Love wins because it is willing to lose

Love is strong because it is vulnerable; it overcomes because it serves; it is powerful because it rejects power.

Love doesn’t climb ladders to get ahead, it gets to work at ground level.

Love doesn’t wait for daylight, it sets up camp in the dark night of the soul and builds a fire.

Love doesn’t dominate, segregate or accumulate; it would rather get nailed to a cross in a posture of inclusion than take up a sword to conquer.

Love wins because it is willing to lose.

Gideon Heugh

Embracing your self-deficiency

‘Sometimes you can’t make it on your own’. Bono had it right, apart from for that first bit. There’s no ‘sometimes’ about it.

Our culture worships the individual. The self-made. The self-sufficient. Self-help. Self-care. Do-it-yourself.

Cue an explosion of loneliness.

No one is self-sufficient. You alone cannot entirely care for yourself. It’s about time we embraced that fact, and surrendered full-heartedly into the one-ness, the inter-connectedness, the relationality of existence.

We are not simply individuals. We are part of this world; and this world is part of us.
We need the air.
We need the soil.
We need the insects and the worms.
We need the sun and the rain.
We need the mass of our planet.
We need the bacteria that fill our guts.
We need the trees and the grass and the plants.
We need friendship.
We need community.
We need helping hands and shoulders to cry on
We need each other.
We need each other.
We need each other.

And each other needs you.

Gideon Heugh

The path

You can step away
from the treadmill now.
We both know how tired
you have become;
we both know how the noise
has been driving you mad.

I won’t blame you for getting on
in the first place. We were all lied to.
We were all told
that it led somewhere.
Look how many increase the speed
hoping to get there faster;
see how inevitably
they fall.

I am glad to have reached you.
Come away now. Come out into the sun,
into the wind and the rain.
Here is a path.
I cannot tell you how long it is,
or the wonders, the tragedies you will find
around its sharp corners
(but, Christ alive,
if you open your heart as much as your eyes
you will find them).

I can tell you that it will end in your death –
of course! And why would we forget?

The ground is solid, but softer than you might think.
You can sit down anywhere
and admire the view.
You are encouraged to make a habit of rest.

At many points it will branch off
and you won’t know which path to take.
Do not be convinced that it matters.
But take note of this:
in all places it is wider
than one set of shoulders.

Gideon Heugh

To live is enough

Do you think that your life has a purpose?
Do you believe that it should?

What is it you are meant to be doing
with this tangle of light and shadow that is you?

***

I asked the gods
(there were three on this occasion)
if it was enough to just live.
One of them began to sob.
One of them – I kid you not –
got down on their knees and began to pray.
And the last one it seemed
was struggling to contain their laughter.

As I was leaving, this god, now in fits of giggles,
caught up with me, gesturing to the wide doors
that led outside, ‘Yes! Of course yes! But my friend,
what do you think that living is?’

***

Once you have the right question
you might discover that you already have the answer.

***

To live is enough.
Every living thing except the human being
will tell you this.

The angels are not writing an evaluation,
they are simply gazing (a little awestruck)
into your face, waiting for your eyes
to widen in wonder,
your mouth to arise into a smile,
your cheek to be blessed with tears.

Do you understand?

***

If I am to do one thing it must be this:
to teach you that the earth is a gift
to be be joyfully and solemnly received,
and that you yourself are a gift
to be joyfully and solemnly given.

Life – yes, the life that you so crave –
is this simple, this gentle exchange.

***

I walk beneath the trees,
oak and ash and beech,
each one content (and nothing could convince me otherwise)
with both its uniqueness
and its utter reliance on all that is not itself.

Scientists tell us that the tips of their roots intertwine
with the thin halls of fungus
that cross the soil, sharing nutrients and information
and who knows what else
with the greater web of life.

A prophet could not have said it better.

Do you think you are self-sufficient?
Do you think you are self-made?
Do you think you can do it on your own?

The air would beg to differ, as would the flesh
of the plants, and the animals.

Let us speak then – and without cynicism – of love.
Let us give thanks that we are not alone.
Let us know it deeply.

***

The sun and the rain and the soil give life.
The world offers freely its beauty and delight.

Reciprocate.

***

Tell me, friend,
have you loved today?
Have you set the fruits of the earth upon your plate
and made a proclamation of grace?
Have you let your body know that it is real,
have you moved it through the gorgeous world
of which it is a gorgeous part?

Is life enough? Are you?

When we are not bothering the gods
with our search for answers
they are dancing.

The light that our ruin lets in

There is the breaking. The falling. The tearing open. The pulled apart. The head buried in the hands. The fists pounding on the floor. The shrieks and the sobs and the why and the why and the why.

This is the broken heart; the grief; the failure; the betrayal; the disappointment; the loss.

There is the waking up in the wilderness. The long and trembling wait. The glimpses of movement in the shadows. The unexpected expansion. The deeper rivers discovered. The reality uncovered. The truth rushing up. The love pouring in and pouring in and pouring in.

This is the dawn that the darkness brings; the light that our ruin lets in; the gold filling the cracks in our shattered selves.

There is the realisation. The astonishment of grace. The response. The renewed or newly discovered purpose. The opening up. The reaching out. The tentative steps forward growing bolder and bolder and bolder.

This is the move from I to us, from me to we; the fierce and tender hope that only eyes that have wept can see; the journey that is goodness, is a terrible beauty, is the message that is written in the marrow of God.

Gideon Heugh

A thousand dreams

One of the rose shrubs in my garden has had a tough time of winter.

It lost most of its leaves to disease, and was further damaged by the January storms. Not to mention the attack it had to endure from my pruning shears. It’s been left a ragged, unlovely twist of stem and thorn.

And yet, it is not dead.

As spring approaches, something within its cells is saying Now.

Something within its sleepy green mind is saying Yes.

And new leaves are beginning to grow.

And a few months from now… it is hard to describe how lovely. How the pink will be a shock of new delight each morning. How the fragrance swimming in the warm sun will be like a thousand dreams remembered.

Of course, I’m not just talking about a rose here.

Hold on, you who have been winter-wrecked.
You are not dead.
Spring approaches, and beyond.

Gideon Heugh

Scalpel

Some poems emerge as an unfolding from within. Others are an idea or image that need to be worked on. Others arrive at you fully formed.

This poem hit me like a train yesterday and I had to rush to write it down before it passed all the way through.

It’s definitely a truth I needed to hear. Perhaps it is for you too:

Scalpel

The Holy Spirit
took out a scalpel
while I lay motionless
on the operating table.

I knew that it would hurt.
I knew from years of experience
that I could not get away.

The first slice
went through skin,
the second through muscle
and the third through bone.
She pushed her slender fingers
in, pinched, and pulled out
a bloody sample.

She placed it under a microscope
and studied it for a while.
There was a shake of the head,
a few mutterings
of disapproval.

Then she whipped around
and looked right at me,
and I felt the wound bubble
and hiss
from the glory;

‘What do you see?’
I stammered.

‘I see life, desperate
to be lived. I see
the divine image,
and gifts that only you can give.
‘I see all these things,
clear
and true,
and I see the fear
that is keeping them locked
within you.’

Gideon Heugh